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Joel Palefsky, M.D.

Infectious disease specialist

Dr. Joel Palefsky is an expert in infectious diseases and cancers associated with these diseases. His expertise includes the treatment of anal dysplasia, a pre-cancerous condition that may lead to anal cancer and that is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Anal dysplasia occurs in men and women and is especially common among patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). He also specializes in the biology and development of new treatments for HPV and Epstein-Barr virus.

Palefsky earned a medical degree at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and completed a fellowship in infectious disease at Stanford University. He is the founder and president of the International Anal Neoplasia Society and president-elect of the International Papillomavirus Society. He is a professor of medicine and laboratory medicine at UCSF.


Dysplasia Clinic
1600 Divisadero St., Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353- 7100
Fax: (415) 353- 4298

Hours: Monday to Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Conditions & Treatments

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McGill University 1984


McGill University, Internal Medicine 1984


Stanford University, Infectious Disease 1988

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Sharma R, Efird JT, Chein A, Holly EA, Krajden M, Berry JM, Darragh TM, Jay N, Palefsky JM. Prevalence and Risk Factors for Neutralizing Antibodies to Human Papillomavirus Types 16 and 18 in HIV-Positive Men Who Have Sex With Men. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Dec 15; 64(5):479-87.
  2. Phanuphak N, Teeratakulpisarn N, Keelawat S, Pankam T, Barisri J, Triratanachat S, Deesua A, Rodbamrung P, Wongsabut J, Tantbirojn P, Numto S, Ruangvejvorachai P, Phanuphak P, Palefsky JM, Ananworanich J, Kerr SJ. Use of Human Papillomavirus DNA, E6/E7 mRNA, and p16 Immunocytochemistry to Detect and Predict anal High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions in HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative Men Who Have Sex with Men. PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e78291.
  3. Ortiz AP, Ortiz-Ortiz KJ, Traverso M, Ríos M, Colón-Lopez V, Palefsky J. 29. Anal cancer trends in Puerto Rico (PR) from 1985 to 2005: impact of HIV status. Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):584.
  4. Tugizov SM, Herrera R, Veluppillai P, Greenspan D, Palefsky JM. 46. HIV-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in mucosal epithelium facilitates HPV paracellular penetration. Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):592.
  5. Colón-López V, Ortiz AP, Del Toro-Mejías L, Clatts MC, Palefsky JM. 6. Prevalence, genotype diversity and determinants of anal HPV infection in high-risk men attending a sexually transmitted infection clinic in Puerto Rico. Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):572-3.
  6. Sheon N, Pollack L, Palefsky J. 41. Willingness to join an anal cancer screening and prevention trial. Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):590.
  7. Wechsler EI, Tugizov S, Palefsky J. 48. Cidofovir treatment prevents invasion of invasive HPV-16-positive anal keratinocytes. Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):593.
  8. Ortiz AP, Guiot HM, Díaz-Miranda OL, Romáán L, Palefsky J, Colon-Lopez V. 30. Recognising and treating anal cancer: training medical students and physicians in Puerto Rico. Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):584-5.
  9. Berry JM, Jay N, Hernandez A, Darragh TM, Palefsky JM. 3. Outcome of excision of early invasive squamous carcinomas of the anal canal and perianus. Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):571.
  10. Palefsky J, Da Costa M, Darragh TM, Jay N, Berry JM. 32. HPV type and strain variant concordance between anal cancers and their preceding high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):585-6.
  11. Neumark DE, Sheon N, Palefsky J. 28. Investigating motivations for participation in an anal cancer screening trial (IMPACT). Sex Health. 2013 Nov; 10(6):583-4.
  12. Tugizov SM, Herrera R, Chin-Hong P, Veluppillai P, Greenspan D, Michael Berry J, Pilcher CD, Shiboski CH, Jay N, Rubin M, Chein A, Palefsky JM. HIV-associated disruption of mucosal epithelium facilitates paracellular penetration by human papillomavirus. Virology. 2013 Nov; 446(1-2):378-88.
  13. Berry JM, Jay N, Cranston RD, Darragh TM, Holly EA, Welton ML, Palefsky JM. Progression of anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions to invasive anal cancer among HIV-infected men who have sex with men. Int J Cancer. 2014 Mar 1; 134(5):1147-55.
  14. Phanuphak N, Teeratakulpisarn N, Pankam T, Kerr SJ, Barisri J, Deesua A, Rodbamrung P, Hongchookiat P, Chomchey N, Phanuphak P, Sohn AH, Ananworanich J, Palefsky JM. Anal human papillomavirus infection among Thai men who have sex with men with and without HIV infection: prevalence, incidence, and persistence. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Aug 1; 63(4):472-9.
  15. Hernandez AL, Efird JT, Holly EA, Berry JM, Jay N, Palefsky JM. Risk factors for anal human papillomavirus infection type 16 among HIV-positive men who have sex with men in San Francisco. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Aug 1; 63(4):532-9.
  16. Hessol NA, Holly EA, Efird JT, Minkoff H, Weber KM, Darragh TM, Burk RD, Strickler HD, Greenblatt RM, Palefsky JM. Concomitant anal and cervical human papillomavirusV infections and intraepithelial neoplasia in HIV-infected and uninfected women. AIDS. 2013 Jul 17; 27(11):1743-51.
  17. Phanuphak N, Teeratakulpisarn N, Triratanachat S, Keelawat S, Pankam T, Kerr SJ, Deesua A, Tantbirojn P, Numto S, Phanuphak P, Palefsky JM, Ananworanich J. High prevalence and incidence of high-grade anal intraepithelial neoplasia among young Thai men who have sex with men with and without HIV. AIDS. 2013 Jul 17; 27(11):1753-62.
  18. Simard EP, Watson M, Saraiya M, Clarke CA, Palefsky JM, Jemal A. Trends in the occurrence of high-grade anal intraepithelial neoplasia in San Francisco: 2000-2009. Cancer. 2013 Oct 1; 119(19):3539-45.
  19. Goldstone SE, Jessen H, Palefsky JM, Giuliano AR, Moreira ED, Vardas E, Aranda C, Hillman RJ, Ferris DG, Coutlee F, Marshall JB, Vuocolo S, Haupt RM, Guris D, Garner E. Quadrivalent HPV vaccine efficacy against disease related to vaccine and non-vaccine HPV types in males. Vaccine. 2013 Aug 20; 31(37):3849-55.
  20. Tugizov SM, Herrera R, Palefsky JM. Epstein-Barr virus transcytosis through polarized oral epithelial cells. J Virol. 2013 Jul; 87(14):8179-94.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.